Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kara's TKD shots

Kara really wanted to get photos taken at her Tae Kwon Do school this year. Last year we missed it. It was hard to narrow down the poses, but I didn't feel like paying an arm and a leg, so I limited myself to 2. The hardest one to see deleted was her kicking shot. It turned out really cool, but I wanted this close-up, and I let her choose the second photo. 
Isn't she the cutest little martial artist you've ever seen???
Of course she wanted the picture with the weapon. I can't remember what these are called, but I'm sure she could tell me. Evie was very intrigued, but also terrified of the weapons selection. They were not real, but she was still quite anxious about them. I thought these were a good choice by Kara. I don't know how I'd feel about a picture of her with a big old sword, haha. 

She also got a large printed poster with the 2 poses together. We are waiting to get it framed, and then will hang it in her room. She went back and forth over background choices for several minutes. Then in the end she got the one that the photographer had recommended from the beginning, and said most people go with. But I guess some people just need their process before deciding things. 
She has a test next weekend to try to earn her blue belt. She is more nervous about it than she has ever been, and rightly so. She is still struggling with the end of her form, so I'll have to make sure she keeps practicing up to the test night. The real question is, can she kick your butt? I guess that depends on who you are, but I do believe she could kick at least some butts at this point. She has asked if she can skip swim team this summer to focus on Tae Kwon Do, but I am still undecided. I really don't see a reason she couldn't do both, since she's not involved in any other summer sports. I guess we'll see. I told her she should discuss it with Daddy to see what he thinks, but she has yet to bring it up to him. I, on the other hand, get to hear about it on a nearly daily basis. He wants her to do swim team, but I think he too, is waiting to see if she will bring it up to him directly, instead of trying to go through me. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate!

My brownie troop is the best brownie troop. So I wanted to take them for a fun field trip at the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate co. factory in Saint Louis. Most of the girls were able to attend, and showed up excited and happy. We went the weekend before Valentine's day, so it was great timing. I went with Kara's troop last year, so I knew it would be a great activity for this group.
We all got to wear these stylish caps.

The girls were interested to learn of the factory being powered by solar panels. They asked questions, and really wanted to know about it.
The staff was preparing for a long week and lots of hours before the holiday, so when we were there, there weren't a lot of people there.
The girls really listened, and seemed interested in the processes.

At the end of the tour, they all got a chocolate dipped pretzel.
The tour guide let them know that the Oompa Loompas had the day off.
They liked weighing their treats, and whatever else they could find in their pockets.
Kiersten told me she thinks she'd like to be a baker or candy maker. I'll add it to the list of her career goals.
It was a fun, quick tour, and we spent some time afterward perusing the shop, and loading up on Valentine's gifts, and "oops" chocolates. They were half price, and most of them were "oopses" because of being misshapen, or too large. So I certainly didn't have a problem with that!


My 3 lovely ladies all wanted to attend the Sweetheart dance with Daddy this year. They were eager to get home from school and get changed into their finery. Kara really felt like she missed out last year, so this year she was very excited about going. She even asked for a specific hairdo, which is uncommon for her. Evie thought she was in trouble right before I took this picture.
Once she saw Daddy and realized he wasn't annoyed with her, she cheered right back up.
I made a gumball machine out of a glass bowl and clay pot. It turned out pretty cute. I was going to fill it with gumballs, but then realized I didn't want them to have a whole bunch of gumballs. So I got some fruit sours instead. It's not functional, you have to remove the lid to get the candy, but still cute, and they loved it.
I set out their gifts after they went to bed so they could wake up to a Valentine's Day surprise.
Our dollar store had cute little boxes, so I got those and crammed them with conversation hearts, pink sixlets, a small box of chocolates, and heart socks. I also had some treats that I got from the chocolate factory when I toured it with Kiersten's girl scout troop.
I made Ben a silly card. He was actually nicer about it than I expected. I made it cheesy as possible. The flash makes it hard to see, but I crossed off the s at the end of Sweetarts, so I could make it say, "To my sweetart". 
He loves Toblerone, so I tried to think of a cute saying to include one in the card. This was the best I could think of, though I'm still certain that there must be a more clever saying I missed.
The girls were very excited when they woke up. I heard them outside my door saying things like, "well, I'm going to wait til mom and dad get up before I go downstairs for breakfast". Since I've never had a V-day surprise first thing in the morning before, I knew they had been down there already, and just weren't sure if they were allowed to open their gifts without us.

They all seemed pretty pleased with their goodies.

Kiersten is so sweet, and spent some of her allowance to buy gifts for her sisters. She got Kara a purse and Evie a pink rose bracelet. Kara said, "I didn't know were supposed to get each other gifts". We told her that no one was supposed to give someone a gift, and that Kiersten had done it because she wanted to. Just as we had given them gifts just because we wanted to.

Evie did later try to give me the bracelet from Kiersten as a gift to me, but I made her keep it. But it is nice to know that she was trying to replicate the generosity.
Ben got some Amiibos I thought he'd like. Only the best for my special guy!
I got yummy chocolates that didn't last nearly as long as they probably should have. And something I've been asking for years from Ben, and finally received for the first time, a card with a hand written note. Dreams really do come true. I also got those tall tall tulips you can see behind Kiersten. They just grew taller and taller. I am going to replant the bulbs in my flower bed and see if they come up again next spring.
The girls also each got a movie. Evie got Barbie as Rapunzel. No one else enjoyed it, but that's why it was a gift for her, and not anyone else.
Kara got Hook, and loved it. Ben and I couldn't resist sitting down to watch it with her.
I knew I was taking a chance giving Kiersten the Little Rascals. I was worried she would think of it as a "boy" movie, but she has watched it about 7 times already, so I think it was a hit as well. I'm actually starting to get sick of hearing about it. I sometimes want to say, "yes, I know. I've seen that movie lots of times". But I just smile and try to be excited that Alfalfa put a frog down his pants.
Ben decided we should have a candle-lit dinner. We have nicer candlesticks than these, but couldn't find them anywhere. Luckily I spotted these forgotten tulip candle holders on Kiersten's shelf. So they worked for our purposes. There were also 3 Valentine's activity placemats left over from a few years ago at the bottom of my decoration box.
We went with the classic napkin roses. Easy and adorable.
These 3 were just thrilled we finally broke out the bottle of sparkling cider that was originally for New Year's Eve, and then Kara's birthday, and then Superbowl. It has now been consumed, and no longer sits forgotten and abandoned at the back of the pantry to taunt them.
And what did we eat on our fancy table? If you guessed heart shaped pizzas, you are correct. That is what we eat every year on this loveliest of holidays. Pizzarelli's this year.

Monday, February 15, 2016

To end our January

Kara had her second concert for special chorus a few weeks ago. We left Kiersten and Evie's dance class a little early so we could make sure not to miss it. I was glad we didn't try to go late, because it only lasted about 15 minutes. Nice and short. The kids sounded great!

She has really enjoyed being in the chorus, and has become a much better singer.

And of course she loves her devoted little fans.

I took a few close up pictures of Kiersten's CCL project for her before getting rid of it. I just couldn't throw them away, though. So they are sitting on a shelf in the garage while I think of a way/place to keep them. But at least they are off my kitchen counter.

Kara's birthday party was the Sunday after her birthday. We waited a week so she could go see Kung Fu Panda 3 for her party. My friend helped me decorate all of these panda cupcakes the night before. Some of the candy eyes had different sizes of pupils that were pointing in all different directions. So some of the pandas ended up looking rather interesting. Kiersten was nervous to let Kara borrow "Bamboo Bear", one of her most loved stuffed animals. She was right to be nervous. The boys kept messing with it during the movie. It finally ended up back on the cupcake stand wearing a pair of sunglasses. She was not amused.

Because they don't have a party room at this theater, we got a discounted rate to rent out the entire theater, so it was nice to be they only ones there. Some of the kids were a little crazy, so I was glad we didn't need to worry about bothering anyone.
She switched seats several times, trying to sit near all of her buddies.

The boys predictably separated themselves in the back.

The little sisters were happy to sit right up front away from those sugar filled boys.
It was a really cute movie. I'd say it's better than the first two.
Here is a cute gift I put together from PTO for our school counselor during School Counseling Week. It turned out super cute, and the girls were excited to bring it to her.
I only took a couple pictures at Trivia Night. It was a very fun event. My girls had a great time, and are hoping this event will be back again next year.

Kiersten missed girl scouts this month, because it conflicted with a circus class she is taking after school. So I had her make her craft beforehand for the other girls to reference. They earned their "write away" try-it. It went pretty well. For the craft portion, they decorated a notebook and pen with duct tape, stickers, and flowers.
I made rice krispie treats dipped in red chocolate for the snack. They went over great! Kiersten and another girl in the circus class stopped by at the end of the meeting to make sure they got some treats as well.
And after all that and a bit more, it was February.